After nine years, How I Met Your Mother’s series finale last night was one giant slap in the face--and not the funny “Slap Bet” kind. I began watching HIMYM on March 1. Yes, you read that correctly; I watched nine entire seasons in the span of exactly one month. Whether that’s shameful or impressive is up to interpretation but there’s no doubt that the past month of my life has been one huge emotional roller-coaster, all leading up to the final episode and the reveal of how Ted actually met the mother.
After the hour-long finale, I did not walk away feeling fulfilled and satisfied, but rather like we were all the victims of some cruel April Fools’ prank in which the writers thought it would be really funny to rip our hearts out and stomp them into the ground. There were so many highs and lows during the finale that my friends and I sounded like bipolar hyenas, switching between raucous laughter and tears of sadness and outrage in a matter of seconds.
Now that I’ve had time to recover slightly from the feeling of tremendous betrayal, it’s time to recap the things that went wrong--and the few that actually went right--during HIMYM’s final episode.
WARNING!! SO MANY SPOILERS AHEAD. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. I WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING AND YOU’LL BE SO SORRY IF YOU READ AHEAD AND HAVE NOT WATCHED IT YET!!
What went wrong: Barney and Robin’s divorce
ARE YOU KIDDING? The entire ninth season was set around Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend! We sat through 22 episodes that painfully tossed around Robin’s emotions to finally have her choose Barney over Ted and live happily ever after…just kidding, their marriage failed after three years and now they can’t bear to be around each other.
This was one of the most devastating moments of the finale and it hit so quickly within the first fifteen minutes that the only understandable reaction was a unanimous state of shock. I have been Team Barney and Robin (Swarley 4eva!) since the very first time they kissed while watching her “Sandcastles in the Sand” music video. To have them break up completely devalued the entire ninth season and made Barney and Robin’s love story seem like a tragic lie rather than a happily ever after.
What went right: Ted meets the mother
We’ve been seeing a lot of Ted and Tracy (aka the mother) together in flash-forwards throughout the ninth season, so we already knew that they seemed to fit together like two perfect puzzle pieces. The only thing we were missing was that first moment at the Farhampton train station where we anxiously waited to find out exactly how he walked over and started talking to the girl with the yellow umbrella.
Their first conversation was written perfectly. You got to see their clear natural chemistry come through as they argued over who truly owned the yellow umbrella and then came to the realization that they’ve been so close to meeting each other all along. Bonus fact: we finally find out the mother’s name: Tracy McConnell. TM. The Mother. Boom…mind blown.
What went wrong: Everyone’s depressing theory turned out to be completely correct...
I promised myself I wouldn't cry during the finale, but it took one dreaded sentence for me to wind up in fetal position with tears in my eyes mumbling “no no stop it no.” It didn't come as much of a surprise--countless fan theories developed during the last few seasons--but it still didn’t hurt any less when they revealed that ten years into their marriage, the mother died, leaving Ted to tell this story six years after her passing.
While this did give an interesting perspective on the sad reality that sickness can often take loved ones too soon, it made the last season seem a lot more somber and depressing in retrospect.
What went right: Barney's one true love
Once it was revealed that Barney and Robin were donezo, flash-forwards showed Robin distancing herself from the group and leaving her friends behind, while Barney reverted back to his classic playboy ways. As much as we all love Barney's "Playbook" and "Bro Code," this almost seemed like a cop-out to let him go right back to a life devoid of real emotional connection with a woman.
Luckily, the writers were able to flip that storyline into what was--in my opinion--the best part of the episode. Barney attempts to top his perfect week (sleeping with seven different girls in seven days) by completing a perfect month, only to find out that Girl #31 got pregnant. Watching Barney hold his baby girl in his arms and tell her that she is the only girl in the world for him was nauseatingly adorable and a perfect way to wrap up his character's story.
What went wrong: How I Met Your
I have heard many mixed reactions to the finale in the past day, but when it comes to this particular plot point, you can either be elated or enraged--there's no middle ground. The episode could have easily ended with the words "And that's how I met your mother."
Unfortunately, that seemed too logical to the writers, and instead they chose to have Ted's kids point out that their mother was only in the story for five seconds. They then mention that the real star of the nine-year-long story (and the one true love of Ted's life all along) was their Aunt Robin. I'm sorry, but I have always hated Ted and Robin together. They were nowhere near compatible enough to have a functional, healthy relationship, and Ted almost destroyed Robin and Barney's marriage by being annoyingly persistent and not letting her go.
While it was clear that Ted really did love Tracy for the entirety of their marriage, it almost feels like the whole series up to this point was a complete waste of time. If he was eventually going to end up with Robin, why did they both romanticizing his future with Tracy so much and allowing us to really get to know and love her character just to dismiss her with a 30-second mention of her passing? Also, what children in their right mind would give their father the OK to go after their aunt when their mother has only been gone for six years?!
Of course, the blue french horn had to make an appearance when he ran to get Ugly-Haircut Future Robin back once and for all. Thanks for destroying everything you worked so hard to build for nine seasons by taking the easy, predictable way out. Not cool, HIMYM.
Hm, it feels like something's missing...
Oh, right. WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH THE PINEAPPLE INCIDENT?! Looks like we'll never get to know.